How to Turn Your iPhone Into a Microscope with a Drop of Water [DIY Hack]


Who doesn’t love to experiment with iPhoneography? Here’s a super cool tip on how to turn your iPhone camera into a microscope with just a drop of water, as noted by Alex Wild over at Scientific American.

All you have to do is place a drop of water on your iPhone’s camera lens, and voila, you have yourself a DIY microscope or the perfect macro lens. The technique isn’t new, and has been used before by a research team at U.C. Davis. They tested the water droplet technique which forms a meniscus, and the subsequent curved surface would act like a magnifying lens, that enabled them to diagnose patient samples.

Here’s a sample image taken by Alex–the water acts so well you can even see the hairs of a honeybee:

I tested Alex’s idea and came up with the following picture of a toonie. Note the first image is the max I could get my iPhone 4S camera to focus. The next image is literally a macro shot of that same toonie, but with a water drop on the lens.

You can even see the typica of my fingerprint:

I took my pictures with the iPhone 4S on the edge of a flat surface screen side down. I placed a droplet of water on the lens, then slid the camera over so I could see the screen, and snapped the picture with the volume up button. I’m sure you can come up with other methods for your iPhone ‘water-graphs’.

As always, be warned when using water around your iPhone. Let me know how this little iPhone photography hack works for you!


  • W3STC04ST

    If you put water in your charging port will it charge faster? lol JP.

  • Lmao, that’s awesome!

  • Gonna try this, brb!

  • Yeah! let’s all pour water on our iPhone 4S camera lens!

  • It’s so fun!

  • Greed

    we have your fingerprint on records now lulz

  • W3STC04ST

    All the cool kids are doing it

  • Djelimon17

    Make sure you’ve got some rice on hand

  • Anonymous

     ^ The last post sent from Gary’s iPhone 4S. ^

  • How did you know?

    Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Device

  • Anonymous

    Cute. Wondering how long it will take some bright spark to simply build a ‘microscope lens’ the size and shape of a water drop to pop onto an iDevice camera and then charge $20 for it. Hey…wait a sec – consider it copyrighted as the iMicroLenz…